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I’ve been catching up on the Nobel prizes.

I was pleased to read about Nambu’s physics prize. He did profound and yet simple work on dynamical symmetry breaking and relativistic string theory. Mixing him up with Kobayashi and Maskawa is a little strange; other than all of them being Japanese, as far as I can recall, there isn’t much in common between his work and theirs. Their work was an extension of Cabibbo’s, as many people have pointed out, and it seems to me that if they got it then he should have too.

The prizes for economics, except the ones for finance, often seem mysterious; the work cited often seems either hard to explain or else commonsensical, but no doubt that’s a reflection on my lack of understanding or appreciation.

There’s a tendency to regard the Nobel prize as coming from God. But don’t forget it’s just a bunch of fallible people voting on something, so it’s a pity it becomes such a weighty arbiter of achievement. It’s not like the prize for the 100m dash with a well-defined metric. It’s more like the prize for synchronized swimming.

I give myself the the prize for calling last Friday the market bottom in my blog of Oct 11. I hope it was indeed not just a local minimum but also a global one.

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